Community Communications Kit

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As you know, Wikipedia’s 10-year birthday is coming up soon! We’ve got scores of events planned—at least four on every continent so far—and we’re hoping for more. Now, we just need to make sure the rest of the world knows about this amazing milestone, too.

While some of us in the Wikimedia community are dedicated to communications work, all of us can use this 10-year anniversary as an opportunity to educate the world about who we are, the work that we do and the mission that drives us. And more importantly, to inspire people to join us. Wikipedia’s birthday provides the opportunity to make a birthday wish to a world that will be paying attention and listening.

We understand that most people don’t fully realize we’re a mission-driven, non-profit movement run by real, everyday people who care about providing a free public service to the world. Often, Wikipedia is thought to be a static product or service, not a living, breathing community of people who care. We want the world to know and understand us as a people-driven movement, appreciate what we’re doing and join us: this is our 10-year birthday wish.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide pieces of a communications tool kit for all to use. It’ll include a media advisory, press release and some simple thoughts and guidance that you can take, translate, remix and use however you like.

The first—and most important—thing we can do RIGHT NOW is tell our own stories in our own words and encourage others who care about our work to do the same. Over the past 10 years, what has Wikipedia come to mean to the world? How will it impact the next ten years? If you don't have a blog or aren't comfortable sharing your story with media, you can include it here. If you need help or have questions, please feel free to contact us: communicationsatwikimedia.org

We’d also like volunteers to guest write for the Wikimedia Foundation blog, so please send us an email and let us know if you’re interested!

Below are tips to provide a little guidance on how to tell your story. If you do blog about it, include a link to it here and we’ll take some of the stories and include them on the Foundation blog as well.

Your own story, in your own words

We all know it’s difficult to be self-congratulatory, or talk about ourselves in general, and that’s not what this is really about. Telling your own story about your personal connection to Wikipedia is about being proud of the time you’ve spent working on an international public resource that is a vital necessity to over 400 million people all over the world. It’s about thanking the thousands of contributors who work alongside you. Most importantly, it’s a chance to invite more people to join us.

Tell the world about your first edit, why you started and why you continue. Let people know how many edits you’ve made, how long you’ve been part of the projects and how you see Wikipedia impacting the world for the better. You may even like to talk about what you do offline, when you’re not donating your time to the movement. Many people who read Wikipedia everyday really don’t realize or understand that the people behind Wikipedia are driven by a cause and truly care about sharing good, free information to people who need it. This is our chance to change that simply by introducing yourself. Are you a student? A father? A teacher? A microbiologist or a barista? Maybe you’re a botany geek or a world history buff.

The Wikipedia community is made up of everyday people from all walks of life, and we’re all united by one common mission: a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Introduce yourselves to the world. Let everyone know why you’re a Wikipedian and why they should care about the movement you represent! Lastly, make a birthday wish and ask people to care enough to contribute.

If you have a blog or another personal broadcasting channel, use it to tell your story. And if you don’t have a place to post, we’ve created a dedicated page for you to use here. Even if you don’t have your own blog or write your own column, there are still ways you can express your opinions, especially through the editorial pages of newspapers in your town, city or region. We’ve provided some tips on how to write an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor to help.

Letters to the Editor

A letter to the editor of your local or regional paper can be quick to write, often relatively easy to have published, and will be seen in one of the paper’s most widely read sections. Letters should be short and catchy (use the average length of those previously published in your paper as a guide), and make just one memorable point or call for action. Give your letter a dynamic title that will attract the attention of the editor, even knowing that the paper’s editorial page editor might change it and have the final say (unfortunately, unlike with Wikipedia, you probably won’t be able to change it back!). If your letter is responding to an article just published about Wikipedia, it is important to email, fax or personally deliver it to the paper within a day or two. Most papers will want to confirm authorship of your letter so always include your full name, address and a daytime telephone number.

Op-eds

Most newspapers print guest columns or opinion editorials known as "op-eds" (so named because they often appear opposite the editorial page). Like a letter to the editor, an op-ed is an expression of personal opinion, only one in which you will have more space to expand on your main message. Even more so than in a letter to the editor, it is important that your op-ed have a local "hook" if it relates to current national or international events. In this regard, you should have a very good chance of having your lively, well-written op-ed published: not only is Wikipedia’s 10th Anniversary certain to attract visible international news attention (The Economist has already flagged it as one of the top upcoming "landmarks of change in 2011" (http://www.economist.com/node/17493029), but by sharing your own personal involvement you will also be giving the story a unique local perspective.

Although length and style will vary from country to country, op-eds are usually around 600 to 1,000 words. It is best to call the newspaper first and request their op-ed guidelines. If possible, speak to the appropriate editor to alert them that you intend to submit an op-ed and briefly explain the significance of Wikipedia’s 10th Anniversary. Typically, you should provide your op-ed to the paper at least a week in advance of intended publication. Some papers will also request your photo to run with your op-ed.

Some ideas on what to write or how to talk about your work

Wikipedia is a non-profit, volunteer-based, advertising-free organization
  • Volunteers produce all of Wikipedia’s information. To date, we have produced over 17 million articles in 270 languages. We’re the 5th most popular website in the world with over 400 million unique visitors every month.
  • In order to maintain editorial independence we do not allow advertising on Wikipedia. Rather, we generate revenue to keep the site and the movement going by encouraging many individual donations. In we achieved our 2010 fundraising goal of 16 million USD on 2 January 2011.
Everyday people helping everyday people
  • Wikipedia is much more than an encyclopedia; we’re a mission-focused, volunteer movement of hundreds of thousands of everyday people from all corners of the world. We’re all committed to providing free knowledge to people who need it.
  • Behind every article, word and photo on Wikipedia are people working and giving their time to provide the most complete, accurate and up-to-date information possible.
Wikipedia needs your help
  • Some people may think Wikipedia is "complete" but many don’t realize we’re a movement working in 270 languages, and that many of our volunteers working in languages used in other parts of the world need help growing their language encyclopedias, too. Most of these Wikipedias in need of support are in countries where good, quality information is scarce.
  • As a mission-focused movement, we’re fiercely committed to providing information in parts of the world where good, quality information in local languages is hard to find. This is especially important in places where books are expensive and libraries non-existent, and where Wikipedia is often one of the only reliable local language resources available.
  • We are committed to engaging people of all walks of life. We understand that the more diverse our volunteers, the richer, more comprehensive our information will be.
Wish Wikipedia a Happy 10th Birthday
  • Thank the Wikipedians who work with you for helping to create and maintain the world’s largest encyclopedia ever—17 million articles in over 270 languages.
Our 10th birthday wish
  • We have a birthday wish for our ten years: We want more people to get involved and contribute. We need more people from all backgrounds to contribute. We hope they contribute with their time and become an editor. If they absolutely can’t edit, then donate.
Draw attention
  • Discuss important information that's currently absent from your town/city’s Wikipedia article.
  • Share your own experience of what it's been like being part of the Wikipedia community.

Media Advisory

This is a simple media note to remind press about the coming celebrations. It's not meant to be detailed, but simple and informative.

Wikipedia to Celebrate 10th Birthday on January 15, 2011

January 15, 2011 will mark a decade of Wikipedia. Founded by Jimmy Wales in 2001, Wikipedia has become the fifth most popular website in the world with 410 million monthly readers (comScore, November 2010). A year after its founding, Wikipedia reached 18,000 articles in 12 languages. After three years, it reached 397,000 articles in 52 languages. Now, at 17 million articles in 270 languages and growing, Wikipedia is the only top-ten website in the world that is truly user-generated, supported and maintained. Over the last ten years, hundreds of thousands of people have contributed more than one billion edits to this vital resource.

To commemorate this historic milestone, people all over the world are gathering at events to celebrate Wikipedia. 17 volunteer-planned events will be taking place in India alone. We invite you to join volunteers in A Coruña, Spain, Bangalore, India, Skopje, Macedonia, London, England, Nairobi, Kenya or any of the nearly 300 events all over the world : http://ten.wikipedia.org/

About Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the a non-profit organization which operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

http://ten.wikipedia.org/
http://ten.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_timeline
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_room


For more information, contact Moka Pantages at Wikipedia10atwikimedia.org or call 415.839.6885 ex 6745